First Look Review: LANDSCAPEDESIGN 11 Jan, 2006 By: Randall S. Newton
Landsape Design Add-on for MicroStation V8
LANDSCAPEDESIGN 1 is a new MicroStation V8 add-on from AEC CADCON that lets users work within MicroStation to complete landscape design from start to finish, including visualizations with hand-drawn style typical of landscape presentations. The experienced MicroStation user who also understands landscaping will have no problem quickly getting up to speed with this application.
AEC CADCON s LandscapeDesign offers tools for all aspects of the landscape design process.
LandscapeDesign offers a complete toolset for designing landscapes. The tools integrate into the existing MicroStation V8 palette and can be displayed or hidden at any time. In addition to tools for plants and fixtures, it also includes tools for planting, sitework (softscape and hardscape) and labeling.
Most landscaping tools feature a large library of components (cells in MicroStation), providing every possible shade and size of primary plants and fixtures used in landscaping. AEC CADCON's product lets users mix and match materials and shapes so that each project has a custom look. This makes it possible for LandscapeDesign to be a full-featured design tool without the burden of hundreds, or thousands, of similar-looking elements. Though AEC CADCON considers this a feature, some landscapers may prefer the security of having a large symbol library on hand.
In most applications, the design work and the final rendering are separate, and the rendering is done in a different program. Because of MicroStation's powerful rendering engine, landscape designs can be rendered at any time during the design process, allowing primary landscape design to be integrated into the whole design. Because all aspects of design are done within MicroStation, the final design is connected to the larger project. Changes are part of the DGN.
LandscapeDesign establishes a hierarchy for rendering, based on vegetation canopies. It knows that shrubs are lower than trees, for example, and renders so that shrubs don't overshadow trees. Another impressive feature, one that uses MicroStation's advanced color palette, is the ability to set transparency values for design objects.
All in all, AEC CADCON LandscapeDesign is a well-thought out product, balancing ease of use with power and flexibility.
Randall S. Newton is editor-in-chief of AECnews.com an online journal covering technology for AEC professionals, and conference director for AEC Science and Technology.